Israel explores partnership possibility with USP

Non-resident ambassador of Israel H.E Tibor Schlosser (far right) with USP’s Vice-President Regional Campuses Dr Giulio Paunga (middle) during his visit to the Laucala Campus this week. On the left is Israel’s Pacific Islands Advisor Yaron Sultan-Dadon. Photo: USP

The non-resident Ambassador of Israel, His Excellency Tibor Schlosser paid a courtesy visit to The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 26 July, 2017, expressing Israel’s intention to establish links with the University.

H.E Schlosser’s presence was a follow-up visit by Mr Yaron Sultan-Dadon, Israel’s Pacific Islands Advisor last October where there was an offer to establish relations in terms of the provision of scholarships on a wide range of areas, among others.

Dr Giulio Paunga, Vice-President Regional Campuses and Estates and Infrastructure, welcomed the Ambassador to the University.

H.E Schlosser said he was privileged to be present as he had heard so much about USP. The Ambassador referred to initial plans to have the Israeli Prime Minister visit Fiji saying even though it had been cancelled, Israel was still very much interested in the affairs of the Pacific.

“It is very important for me to come and express our intention to enter into a strong relation with USP in order to have the Pacific benefit from what we can share with you,” he reiterated.

The Ambassador referred to opportunities for collaboration in Marine and Agriculture in terms of bringing Israeli expertise over to USP with the aim of benefitting the Pacific.

Other areas he mentioned included Science, Medical and Health.

On the issue of scholarships, H.E Schlosser spoke of the availability of these in many areas including Foreign Relations and Agriculture, specifically high-tech methods taught from growing, farming and irrigation systems.

During the discussion, he requested the University to earmark eligible students for their scholarships.

H.E Schlosser also raised the possibility of arranging relevant short-term courses at Laucala or at USP’s regional campuses, on specific issues like Women Empowerment, Energy, Climate Change and Education.

“For your information, these courses are tailor-made. We have special interest in assisting the Pacific, because we appreciate the Pacific’s strong affiliation to Israel and we would like to respond accordingly.

“By securing a partnership with USP, I am certain that we can do much more to assist the Pacific,” he noted.

Dr Paunga welcomed the ideas put forward saying USP is in the process of planning its new Strategic Plan (2018-2024) as the current one ends next year and the ideas would definitely be incorporated as part of consultations.

He emphasised that Pacific island citizens would be sure to make use of the scholarship funding and other assistance offered by Israel since USP is spread out over 12 countries of the Pacific region.

“We certainly have a variety of areas of common interest including Climate Change, Oceans & Marine Studies, Technology and Renewable Energy.

Dr Paunga confirmed that USP looked forward to working with the Embassy and Government of Israel on the issues raised and was keen to develop a partnership as part of commemorating the University’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations in 2018.